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 Phil TAYLOR
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 Jon FEILER
  NYIT
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 Juvaris HAYES
  Merrimack
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 Akaemji WILLIAMS
  L.Superior
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 Spencer CASSON
  Seton Hill
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Vikings Outlast Wolves To Claim GNAC Championship - Mar 6, 2017


POSTED BY:
IGOR OBRADOVIC
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Taylor
Stafford
Western Washington rode another spectacular scoring performance by GNAC Player of the Year Taylor Stafford (6'1''-G) to win the GNAC Men's Basketball Championships Saturday, holding off No. 3 seeded Western Oregon 71-69 in the championship final at Marcus Pavilion.
Stafford finished three short of the tournament single-game scoring record with 33 points, 18 of which came in the second half. The senior was named the championships' Most Valuable Player after he scored 64 points in the Vikings' two games.
For Western Washington, it was their first GNAC Championships win since the conference tournament began in 2011. It is the fourth time the Vikings had reached the championship game. The conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division II Tournament, the Vikings will learn of their first round opponent and location in the selection show on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Daulton Hommes (6'7''-G-96) and Deandre Dickson (6'9''-F) added 10 points as Western Washington finished shooting 45.6 percent from the floor (26-57).
Western Oregon junior Demetrius Trammell (6'1''-G) put together a career night to try and keep the Wolves' tournament chances alive, finishing with 33 points as he connected on 12 of 21 from the field. Trammell scored 21 of those points in the first half as he and Tanner Omlid (6'3''-F) accounted for all but one of the Wolves' 28 first half points. Ali Faruq-Bey (6'2''-G) finished with 16 points on 8 of 14 from the field and Omlid finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Trammell scored 15 of the first 17 WOU points. His three-pointer at the 14:34 mark allowed Western Oregon the 17-13 lead, an advantage that held until the midway point of the period. Jeffrey Parker (6'6''-F-93)'s three-pointer at the 9:14 mark gave Western Washington its first lead of the game, and after Trammell connected on his fifth three-pointer of the half with 8:51 left, the Vikings took charge.
The Wolves did not score another field goal the rest of the half, 50 seconds, and WWU went on 22-6 run to end the period. Trevor Jasinsky (6'7''-F-97) hit a lay-in with 2:47 to go that gave Western Washington a five-point lead and Stafford's three-pointer with nine seconds to go, one of 15 points he scored in the opening half, gave the Vikings a 36-28 halftime lead.
Western Oregon chipped away at the deficit as soon as the second half began, narrowing the gap to 38-37 on Faruq-Bey's lay-in at the 17:29 mark, but the Vikings responded to back up five, 42-37, on Dickson's lay-in two minutes later. The Wolves endured another scoring drought midway through the period, this one of four minutes, but the Vikings did not pull far enough ahead to put it out of reach as they grew the lead to no more than five.
Trammell hit his first bucket of the second half to make it a 57-56 game with 8:39 and the Wolves reclaimed the lead on a pair of Omlid free throws with just over six to go. Dickson tied the game at 63-63 with a pair of free throws for the Vikings with 5:19 left, but a lay-in by Faruq-Bey and two Omlid free throws put Western Oregon up 67-63 at the 2:37 mark.
Western Washington went on a critical 5-0 run at that point and used a pair of Stafford free throws to go ahead 70-67 with 29 seconds left. Western Oregon looked for a three-point opportunity on its next possession, but settled for a Faruq-Bey lay-in with 10 seconds left. The Wolves immediately fouled and Stafford converted one of two free throws to give WOU one more opportunity, but a last-second three-point opportunity for Malik Leaks (6'2''-G) went long.

GNAC Tournament Final: Western Washington - Western Oregon 71-69
GNAC Tournament Semifinals:
Western Washington - Saint Martin's 91-79
Western Oregon - Alaska Anchorage 91-84, 3OT

Courtesy of GNAC Sports
  




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Elliott
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